House refuses to declare federal health care law unconstitutional
Augusta — The Maine House overwhelmingly voted June 1 to kill a bill that would declare the federal health care law null and void and prohibit the state from enforcing any of its requirements.
The House voted 122-21 to reject LD 1233, which was sponsored by Rep. Aaron Libby, R-Waterboro. The Legislature's Insurance and Financial Services Committee recommended rejection of the legislation.
Two local legislators were among the 21 House members who supported the legislation during the June 1 vote. Republican Reps. Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, whose district includes Washington, and Jonathan McKane, whose district includes Monhegan, voted to support the bill.
The Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, approved by Congress last year and signed by President Barack Obama, is being challenged by some states and in the courts. The law extends health care benefits and will eventually mandate that each person obtain insurance or pay a fee.
The bill argued that the federal law violates the section of the U.S. Constitution that leaves authority to the states anything that is not specifically cited in the Constitution.
The bill would have made it a crime, punishable by a jail term, for any state official to try to enforce the federal health care law.
All other local legislators voted to reject the state legislation.
The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.